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Published August 28th 2017
Inspiring girls to get involved in sport and dream big
Bring It On! by Jo Stanley is a fantastic new junior fiction book for young girls. It is the story of Sarah, who is starting at a new school, navigating new friendships and hoping to join the local junior girls AFL team. The story is set in a fictional inner city suburb of Melbourne called Milsborough West and centres around the local girls footy team called The Flyers.
Bring It On! is the first book in the Play Like a Girl series of books from Bonnier Publishing, due to be released in September 2017. It is described by the publisher as a "celebration of Aussie girls kicking goals in the sport they love". The series was created in partnership with the AFL Women's League to inspire young girls to get involved in sport, be inspired and dream big.
Author Jo Stanley is a radio personality, comedian, writer, actor and presenter. She is passionate about AFL and feminism and was honoured to be asked to write this series. As the mother of a young daughter herself, she says it is important for girls to have the same sense of aspirations and dreams, on the same landscape of limitless opportunity, that boys have. Before the introduction of the AFL Women's League this was not the case as girls who loved footy had to dream differently to boys. However the introduction of the AFL Women's League this year has meant young girls can now see a pathway to playing at an elite level, in a national league and have female AFL role models to look up to.
It is hoped the Play Like A Girl series helps to give girls a sense of empowerment and show them that they can be strong, fit and hardworking just like the characters in the stories.
Bring It On! is a story told with humour and a sense of fun and covers themes of friendship, belonging and the benefits of a team sport. It is very relatable to its target audience of 8 - 12 years olds and at 67 pages it is easily digestible for younger readers in this age bracket.
While AFL is central to the books they will also appeal to any girl who loves being fit, active and strong. The series includes four books, each told from the perspective of a different girl. The stories explore the lives of the girls, her friends, her school and her experience playing with the Flyers footy team. The series includes themes of bullying, anxiety, success and failure. The books also include emotional intelligence lessons important for young girls such as self-acceptance, gratitude, awareness of others, kindness and leadership.